New audio technology can pinpoint the location and precise time of a gunshot -- even the type of gun that fired it -- up to 2,000 yards away.
Shotspotter is that technology, and the third and final installment in this series on the technology protecting the President.
SST Inc., the Mountain View, Calif., company behind the product, installed its sensors on buildings around the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. No incidents were reported, but that just may mean the system is working. Proponents of the product claim that it wards off as much crime as it detects.
Here's how it works: Shotspotter antennae and sensors activate when the sound of a gunshot is detected. They triangulate the noise, measuring its intensity, to find the source, and then alert police. The system can even determine what kind of gun was used and the precise time it was fired. Wow.
More than 70 departments use the system already. In most cases, officers say that just having the system quickly curbs criminals from even committing a gun crime, because of the high rate of detection.
Basically it makes crooks think twice before taking a shot. While it's hard to track these stats nationwide, some numbers we did find seem to support the system's effectiveness. In Rochester, N.Y., gunfire was reduced 43% after Shotspotter went live; and in Minneapolis, that city saw a 30% decrease in gun shots reported within the first 30 days of introducing Shotspotter.
These systems are at work in more than 60 U.S. cities and cost between $40,000 and $60,000 per square mile to set up and run.
Photo by The Knowles Gallery